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How Does Botox Treat Overactive Bladder?

Many of our patients at Southeast Urogyn in Jackson, Mississippi, experience symptoms of overactive bladder (OAB). The constant urge to urinate and inability to hold your urine can really disrupt your life.

OAB can make it difficult to finish a presentation at work, create havoc during a simple trip to the mall, and keep you from enjoying social situations you once loved. And standard treatments for OAB aren’t always effective. What works for one patient may not work for another or lose its effectiveness over time.

Enter Botox®. The US Food and Drug Administration approved its use for OAB in 2013, and it works. We’re happy to offer this treatment for our patients, because it can help stop those constant bathroom visits and embarrassing accidents from interrupting your days and nights.  

What it is

OAB isn’t a disease. It’s related to your bladder’s ability to function. Your bladder function is controlled by nerves, muscles, and signals from your brain that work together to hold urine in your bladder until it’s full, and then release it at the right time -- preferably after you've reached a bathroom.

A healthy bladder can hold up to two cups of urine during the day and stretch to contain as many as four cups of urine overnight. OAB occurs when your bladder muscles contract involuntarily, causing you to urinate even when your bladder contains only a relatively small amount of urine.   

Symptoms of OAB include:

Why OAB happens

We can sometimes identify a condition that might contribute to your OAB, including:

What we can do about OAB

The first thing we do for your OAB at Southeast Urogyn is give you a comfortable place to talk about your symptoms and how they’re affecting your life. From there, we perform an exam and then order diagnostic studies that may help determine why your bladder is acting up.

If necessary, we prescribe antibiotics if you have a urinary tract infection or make recommendations for changes in habits that can contribute to OAB. We can also consult with your primary care physician about a possible medication change or improved control of conditions like diabetes.  

Often, however, you can have OAB without any identifiable contributing factors. And sometimes you can experience symptoms even when underlying medical conditions, such as diabetes, are well controlled. In these cases, we design a treatment plan focused on reducing your OAB symptoms by controlling your bladder’s urge to empty before it’s full.

A treatment plan might include:

We may also recommend Botox injections, which can keep your OAB symptoms under control for a year or more.

How Botox works for OAB

Botox is a neurotoxin, and when given in the right dose and formulation, it can relax your bladder muscles enough that they still function but don’t contract as vigorously as they normally would. This relieves the pressure on your bladder that causes it to empty prematurely, decreases your urge to urinate, and eliminates the loss of urine associated with OAB.  

Botox is delivered via injection into your bladder wall. Don’t panic, the procedure takes place in our office and is quick. We do ask you to hang around for about 30 minutes afterward, or until you urinate, so we can make sure you’re tolerating the injection.

It can take a month to experience full results, but most of our patients report significant relief within a couple of weeks. They also often note that Botox works better than the oral medicines they’ve tried previously. You may experience relief of your OAB symptoms for a year or more after receiving your first treatment, but we can repeat injections every 12 weeks if necessary.

If you’ve got questions about OAB and Botox treatment, give us a call today to schedule an appointment or book your visit online.

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